Measuring the total return on investment of a business’ Facebook efforts is tricky, if not nearly impossible. There are lots of variables to consider, many of which businesses can’t really track.
Here’s an example of what I mean: It’s around lunchtime and a guy sees a Facebook post featuring a mouth-watering photo from Joe’s Pizza Parlor. He then suggests to his deskmate that they grab a slice of pizza at Joe’s. They end up spending $20 on slices and wings.
Even if Joe’s Pizza Parlor’s Facebook post didn’t get any engagement, it effectively earned the business $20. The point is, unless Joe himself asks every customer who places an order what inspired them to do so (which I wouldn’t recommend!) there’s really no way of tracking the restaurant’s exact return on its Facebook efforts. This is because once a user’s social media experiences turn into word of mouth, it becomes extremely difficult for the brand to track.
So the question becomes: How can a business optimize tracking and quickly discover which efforts are paying off the most? The answer is to use each month as an opportunity to test a new Facebook tactic! Tactics could be hosting a sweepstakes or a giveaway, or hosting a campaign focused on building an email list.
By testing and tracking the performance of different types of promotional tactics, a business is able to pinpoint its most valuable Facebook efforts.
Here are four things you can do to measure the results of your Facebook efforts.
1. Prepare an Excel Sheet
Before you test your first Facebook tactic, create either an Excel or Google spreadsheet and record the following:
- Total number of page Likes
- Average number of Timeline visits (find this metric in the Visits tab of Insights)
- Average number of organic Likes (find this metric in the Likes tab of Insights)
- Average number of unlikes (find this metric in the Likes tab of Insights)
- Average number of paid Likes (find this metric in the Likes tab of Insights)
By taking note of these six metrics, you’ll have a good idea later of how your Facebook tactics affect your brand’s average Timeline performance.
2. Set Up Your Tracking Links
Facebook Insights provides you with a lot of vanity metrics — i.e., Likes, Shares, and “People engaged.” To discover deeper, more valuable metrics, you’ll need to use some tools. Here are a few that my team have found useful:
- Facebook Conversion Pixels: If you’re using Facebook ads to promote your tactics, create a conversion pixel within Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor. Doing this will allow you to measure the return on investment of your ads.
- Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) Parameters in Google Analytics: To identify which of your marketing efforts are most effective at promoting your Facebook tactics, use UTM parameters. These parameters are custom tags added to the end of a URL — this creates a unique URL for you to share. When you promote your Facebook tactic (contest, promotion, etc.) using a Facebook post, tweet and/or email blast, use a unique URL for each effort. In Google Analytics you will then be able to identify which types of posts and/or promotional content are best at driving traffic (clicks) to the Facebook promotion you’re testing.
- Improvely: I like to describe Improvely as an easier-to-use, more comprehensive Google Analytics. With Improvely, it’s simple to create unique tracking links and trace where the revenue and conversions of your Facebook tactics are coming from.
3. Record The Results of Your Promotion
After each of your month-long Facebook efforts is complete, revisit the excel sheet or Google document you created. Add the following columns to it and then record the month’s results:
- Total number of entries and/or leads gathered
- Total cost of promotion (Include Facebook ad spend, cost of prize, and other costs related to building and/or promoting your promotion)
- Total number of sales/conversions
- Sales/conversion value, i.e., your monetary gains
- Type and amount of user generated content collected
- Other notes/comments about promotion
Note: Fill column with N/A if issue doesn’t apply to your promotion.
4. Evaluate and Test, Test, Test. Then Test Again!
Once you’ve recorded the results of your first few Facebook tactics, reflect on what’s working and what’s not. Keep in mind, the same formula for success is not going to be the same for every business so it’s important to keep testing and learning.
Not sure what types of Facebook tactics to test? Here are some ideas:
- Host a photo-vote contest
- Offer an exclusive coupon or discount code to fans
- Share a free downloadable resource with fans after they opt-in to your email list
- Give users the chance to win a prize from your brand when they complete a survey
Yes, it’s impossible to track one-hundred percent of the ROI of a brand’s Facebook efforts. But does that mean a brand should be discouraged from using Facebook? Absolutely not. By committing to tracking and testing different Facebook tactics on a consistent basis you can gain a clearer understanding of how your Facebook efforts are paying off.
I’m curious to know how you track your Facebook efforts. Please let me know in the comments below!